I’m ploughing on, after the frustrations of last week, and so far this week’s looking better.
Yesterday, Monday, everyone was to present their group scenes on the theme “the fantastical world”. On Friday morning I wasn’t alone when I came in worried we’d have nothing remotely rehearsed or coherent to show. After playing around earlier in the week we had the germ of an idea we liked — voices being transferred from one person to another across the space — but weren’t sure what to do with it. What we came up with had plenty of flaws (a very vague setting, no dramatic build, it ended too soon) but at least it felt like a scene we could reliably show everyone.
I think we did OK in the end, or, rather, we got off lightly, with the main criticism from the teachers being that we hadn’t developed the idea fully. I’m not sure they saw quite the same idea as we’d intended, but we weren’t going to question their wisdom on this one! I was pleased that we’d begun our scene as if in the “real” world, to give the audience a grasp of what was happening before launching into the “fantastical”. Some of the other groups didn’t do this and while events made perfect sense in their heads we were struggling to catch up and work out what was going on, however beautifully or joyfully it was presented.
We were then given the topic for the next two weeks. Instead of splitting into small groups we’re now a single group and we must represent an entire day at a place in London (the example given was Harrods).
This morning we met to decide how to approach the task and I was dreading the meeting. The idea of a group of 34 drama students self-organising wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of and I was ready for chaos that would lead to two weeks of getting nowhere. There must be many established processes for this kind of work with large numbers of people and I was wishing I could whip out a plan that would save us the frustrations of trial and error.
Amazingly though, and to many people’s surprise, things went remarkably smoothly. There was a lot of discussion and plenty of people wanting to add “just one more thing” but, with a few of us gently herding proceedings along a little, we finished early having decided to focus on Selfridges (easier to get to than Harrods) and worked out a schedule for our first week.
I was happy with this although, having popped into Selfridges this afternoon, I’m now reeling a little from the relentless consumerist shock of the place, and wondering how we’ll fit nearly twelve hours in the day of a sprawling six-floor Oxford Street department store into fifteen minutes.